Edward Weston ‘Dunes at Oceano’ print highlights Swann’s May 14 photographs auction

NEW YORK—Edward Weston’s hypnotic image of “Dunes at Oceano,” silver print, 1936, brought $72,000 at Swann Galleries’ May 14 auction of photographic literature and fine photographs. Other top photographs included Minor White’s “Windowsill Daydreaming,” silver print, 1958, printed mid-1960s, which sold for a record $26,400; two fashion shots by Horst P. Horst, “Lillian Marcuson,” platinum print, 1950, printed 1980s, $16,800, and “Nina de Voogh (for Vogue),” platinum print, 1951, printed 1980s, $13,200. Roy De Carava’s eponymous portfolio, with 12 dust-grain photogravures, 1991, sold for $57,600.

Among many desirable works by Edward S. Curtis were “Three Chiefs, Piegan,” a unique, mural-size toned silver print, 1900, $24,000; and “Chief Joseph, Nez Percé,” photogravure on Van Gelder paper, 1903, and “The Vanishing Race,” oversize platinum print, 1904, $16,800 each.

Daile Kaplan, Swann Galleries Vice President and Director of Photographs, said, “We’re pleased that classical photographs by Weston, Curtis, Horst and De Carava continue to perform well in the marketplace, and that buyers are excited about adding new works to their collections. The strong results for fine art and vernacular photographs in this auction was complemented by the growing global demand for rare photobooks by Ruscha and Araki.”

Those books were Ed Ruscha’s “Various Small Fires and Milk,” first edition, signed and inscribed by Ruscha to Andy Warhol, Los Angeles, 1964, $15,600; and Nobuyoshi Araki’s ABCD, four volumes, one of 20 copies signed and numbered by Araki, New York, 2003, $10,800.

Other highlights of photographic literature included a first edition of Alvin Langdon Coburn’s “London,” with 20 hand-pulled photogravure images of the city, London and New York, 1909, $8,400; Josef Sudek’s “Praha Panoramatická,” first edition of this work containing panoramic views of Prague, signed and dated by Sudek in the year of publications, Prague, 1959, $4,320; and Robert Frank’s “Flower Is . . . ,” one of 500 copies of a limited edition, Tokyo, 1987, $4,800.   

Documentary and news photos also sold well, with W. Eugene Smith’s “Untitled” image of a boy climbing a street sign on Pride Street from his “Pittsburgh” series, silver print, 1955-56, fetching $6,240; Henri Cartier-Bresson’s portrait of “Malcolm X,” silver print, 1961, printed 1980s, $7,200; and Moneta J. Sleet, Jr.’s Pulitzer prize-winning photo of “Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr. comforting her daughter Bernice, age 5, during her husband’s funeral,” silver print, 1968-69, $10,800.

Rounding out the sale were Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “Sifnos,” Greece, silver print, 1961, printed 1980s, $12,000; George Tice’s “Petit’s Mobil Station, Cherry Hill, New Jersey,” oversize selenium-toned silver print, 1974, printed 1980, $9,600; William Eggleston’s “Winston,” chromogenic print, circa 1983-86, $10,200; Robert Adams’s “Pawnee National Grassland, Colorado,” silver print, 1984, printed 1988, $11,400; and Joel-Peter Witkin’s “The History of Commercial Photography in South America,” silver print, with a preparatory pencil sketch for the photograph, 1984, $9,600.

All prices include 20 percent buyer’s premium. For more information about Swann Galleries or upcoming auctions, visit www.swanngalleries.com.

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